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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

With Lives at Stake, Trust Must Be Earned

March 21, 2003

Re "As War Descends, Let's Choose to Trust," Commentary, March 19: John Balzar says to "trust" the Bush administration while our soldiers are in the field, but what's to trust?

Secretary of State Colin Powell's diplomacy? (It wasn't just countries with designs on Iraq's oil that he failed to convince.) Vice President Dick Cheney's sense of proportion and restraint? (Does anyone have any idea where, or when, any of this will end?) President Bush's judgment and candor? (His connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein is either delusional or mendacious, take your pick.)

I trust Gen. Tommy Franks and his troops to do what they've been asked to do with honor and skill, both in achieving results and avoiding needless devastation. They have my support, both for their valor and because they have to follow orders. But Bush's order to roll doesn't make his case for this war any stronger, or his advisors any wiser, or his foresight and understanding any more reliable. To trust these people is to court disaster.

No one questions that the troops must now complete their mission, and they deserve our support; but this administration has shown itself so deaf, dumb and blind that regime change has to be the mission here at home as well, if only because people who put their lives on the line deserve competent leadership.

Vincent J. Canzoneri

Newton, Mass.

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What absolute rubbish is Balzar's piece. We are going to kill children this week, without provocation, and Balzar says we should trust [our leaders], that "they could be right." What ever happened to the Age of Reason?

Richard P. McDonough

Irvine

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